Masters runner-up Cameron Smith is disappointed the COVID-19 pandemic has left him unable to take his hot form into an Australian summer of golf.
Smith became the first player in Masters history to shoot four rounds in the 60s at Augusta National but still fell short of American superstar and World No.1 Dustin Johnson, who claimed the green jacket in record fashion.
While Johnson set a Masters scoring record at 20-under par, Smith's 15 under would have been good enough to win 77 of the 84 Masters played.
The 27-year-old from Brisbane is unlikely to play again until January, when he is eligible for the Tournament of Champions in Maui before defending his Sony Open title in Honolulu the following week.
Smith lamented the fact the pandemic had necessitated the need to cancel the Australian summer of golf's biggest events – the Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship.
Already a two-time winner of the Australian PGA, Smith would have been a hot favourite in both fields.
"It's a bummer I can't try to continue this hot form, especially back home," Smith told AAP.
"I love getting back to see family and friends as much as possible but obviously right now things are difficult in that sense.
"It's a bummer I can't try to continue this hot form, especially back home." – Cameron Smith
"I'm looking forward to when things settle down and I'll be able to go crack a beer with Dad and the family and my mates and celebrate what was a good week at Augusta.
"I'm disappointed I didn't win. I wasn't playing for second, but it was still a successful week."
Smith says the fact he was able to produce some of his best short-game skills under the ultimate pressure will put him in good stead going forward.
After winning in Hawaii last January, Smith looked set for a bumper 2020 but a COVID-19 shutdown stalled his efforts.
He failed to record another top 10 pre or post pandemic break after his second Tour win, ultimately finishing 24th in the season-long FedEx Cup. But his history of performing well in October and November came to the fore.
Smith has been under par in 15 of his past 16 PGA Tour rounds and finished 11th at the CJ Cup in Las Vegas and fourth in the ZOZO Championship in Los Angeles before his T2 at the Masters.
"This has been a massive confidence booster and it is a shame I'm not going to play a tournament for a couple months," he said.
"But I can't wait to start back up in Hawaii, and obviously try and defend there would be awesome.
"I love that course so (I'm) in for a good start to the year, I think. Until then I'll take a bit of a break, do a bit of fishing, and then try to start fast again."
- Ben Everill, Australian Associated Press